NORMAN BROWN SHARES “THE HIGHEST ACT OF LOVE”

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Norman Brown “had to dig deep” when creating his upcoming album “The Highest Act of Love,” which will be released on February 22, 2019. He is ready to share this project and says, “I’m so excited about this record.” It took Norman two albums’ worth of music to create this very special one. He describes this record as a “framework for thinking and reasoning about life.”  When beginning the project, Norman visited his archived music and started from there. The first song he pulled was a demo of Deniece Williams’ hit “Free.” Ironically, it didn’t make the first round of songs selected for the album, but it definitely made the final cut. The collaboration with Deniece on her song was very special because when she heard it, she was elated, saying it was “incredible.” Norman also collaborated with Paul Brown on the first song on the album, appropriately titled “Inside The Garden of Peace and Love.” That’s where the journey for the listener begins. Kim Waters and Chris “Big Dog” Davis collaborated with Norman on the album, as well.

Listen to my in-depth and enlightening conversation with Norman:

EXPERIENCE “LIFE AND TIMES” WITH JAZZ FUNK SOUL

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When you combine three powerhouse musicians who have had amazing careers for decades, you are in for a masterful musical journey. Jazz Funk Soul was formed in 2014 with the late Chuck Loeb. The group made an instant impact and realized they had something very special. When the music world lost Chuck Loeb, it was obvious that no one could fill his shoes. However, Paul Jackson, Jr. had been filling in for Loeb when the band was on the road performing. Paul previously worked with Jeff and Everett in their individual careers, and they embraced the musical language he brought into the group. “LIFE AND TIMES,” the groups latest project, is set to be released on January 25th. The single “Windfall” was an obvious first release and a new sound from the project. It perfectly displays the individual gifts that each member possesses. Jeff, Everette, and Paul each believe that working together propels them to constantly reach higher levels of musicianship.

Listen to Jeff, Everette, and Paul discuss the project with me: 

STANLEY CLARKE

Stanley Clarke and his band of masterful musicians had an outstanding performance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

STANLEY CLARKE DELIVERS “THE MESSAGE”

Stanley Clarke is undeniably one of music’s most renowned bassists–with an astounding career spanning over forty-five years. On June 29th, 2018, Stanley released his latest album titled “The Message.” Clarke was accompanied by his virtuoso band mates Cameron Graves, Mike Mitchell, and Beka Gochiashvili. Also joining the band and having lent their talents to “The Message” are Doug E. Fresh, Mark Isham, Steve Blum, Skeyler, Trevor Wesley, and Doug Webb. This album was crafted while the band’s European tour was briefly interrupted in Paris. Fortunately for us, that unexpected extra time in Paris was put to great use, and it led to the creation of this project. Clarke says that his first thought once he heard the material was “how honest it was.” He would like everyone who hears this project to know that “The Message” is a “message of love.”

Listen as Stanley and I talk all things music and “The Message”: 

Stanley Clarke Band

Stanley Clarke Band

 

IT’S “A NEW DAY” FOR GREG CHAMBERS

For saxophonist Greg Chambers, A New Day has been 2 years in the making. He and his wife, Chelsea, have added the joy of parenthood to their lives, welcoming their baby boy, Owen. Greg is experiencing “balancing life and work.” A New Day was partially written and inspired by Owen, and the title, itself, represents embracing something new. Greg co-wrote all 10 original songs on the project and collaborated alongside Matt Godina, Nate Harasim, Lew Laing and Paul Brown. Working with Paul Brown provided “a different approach” that served as an inviting addition to the music. Chambers “enjoys the writing process” and is always “excited when working with other people and seeing the music take shape.”

Listen to Greg and I discuss A New Day

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MICHAEL FRANKS GETS INTIMATE WITH “THE MUSIC IN MY HEAD”

It’s been seven years since Michael Franks’ last album was released, and his fans are elated to receive “The Music In My Head” on June 8th. It is his 18th album to date in his 45 year career. Franks is known for his eloquent and poetic lyrics, clever song titles, and smooth charismatic delivery. Michael describes this project as “very true” and “very personal”– one in which you can hear and feel his “love for nature” as well as his everlasting love for his wife Claudia of 42 years. Once again, Franks has given us a plethora of musical gems while working in the studio with his musical comrades: Jimmy Haslip, David Spinozza, Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Bob Mintzer, and Rachel Z. He feels especially blessed to have also collaborated with his dear friend Chuck Loeb on the song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” It would be one of the last recordings Loeb would work on. Franks’ collection of ten new songs embraces listeners and glides them through a journey of love, nature, science-fiction, old LA jazz clubs, and healing relationships.

Listen and enjoy my interview with Michael Franks:


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Jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar making his case for Brazilian music on the global stage with “Sebastiana”

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Jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar making his case for Brazilian music on the global stage with “Sebastiana”

 His newly released third album revisiting Brazilian classics and introducing his own compositions is a multicultural celebration of Latin music.

 FORTALEZA, BRAZIL (11 April 2018): As a lawyer, Ricardo Bacelar builds airtight cases to make winning arguments to the court in defense of copyrights. As a musician, the pianist-composer-arranger is just as meticulous when it comes to crafting his recordings, making convincing musical statements. To prepare a compelling case to present on his third album, “Sebastiana,” which dropped stateside on March 30 and throughout Europe earlier this month, he gathered a collective of musicians from all over the Latin-American diaspora and granted them the freedom to inject their unique cultural identities into the 15-track contemporary jazz set of freshly-arranged Brazilian standards and poignant piano prose penned by Bacelar.

Bacelar recorded in Miami where he reconnected with his long-ago flatmate Cesar Lemos (Ricky Martin, Paulina Rubio), who was drafted to produce “Sebastiana” as well as co-write a pair of new songs. Joining them was players from Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. With Brazilian jazz and fusion serving as the stencil, distinctive Latin-American rhythms and instrumentation illustrate Bacelar’s own tunes as well as interpret works from illustrious Brazilian composers Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins, Flora Purim, Luiz Gonzaga, Lo Borges, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Milton Nascimento, Ronald Bastos, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Victor Martins and Jose Roberto Bertrami.

 The multi-genre album is receiving airplay from a variety of jazz radio formats and the disc has been lauded by reviewers for its artistic vision, authenticity and cultural significance. Thus far, Bacelar Productions has lensed videos for four songs. “Volta da Asa Branca” and “Oh Mana Deixa Eu Ir” – the later coolly crooned by Bacelar – are set in a natural amphitheater formed by a precipitously chiseled mountain range, desert foliage and vast skies with Bacelar’s grand piano precariously perched atop a rocky slab. “Toda Menina Baiana” finds the protagonist contemplating on a stroll by the opalescent Atlantic Ocean on the Brazilian coastline and in the recording studio tracking the cut live with several band members. The imaginatively animated “Nothing Will Be As It Was,” was the first single from the album and showcases a lonely lead vocal from Maye Osorio and Bacelar’s mood-shifting Moog synthesizer, adding texture to the unsettling cut. Two more videos are slated to be shot.

 The Brazil-based Bacelar will be in Lisbon, Portugal later this month to perform four concert dates.

 Below are excerpts from some of the album reviews:

 “A dazzling set sure to blow your mind as it takes jazz someplace you just didn’t expect.” – Midwest Record

 “This album is a feast for lovers of Brazilian music.” – Keys & Chords

 “Bacelar now brings us his third album, and most ambitious yet, the beautiful, and stunningly creative ‘Sebastiana.’” – Exclusive Magazine

 “It’s an album of distinct taste, class, and sophistication and does capture the colorful characters of both jazz and Brazilian exoticism.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

 “Music that honours the roots of Brazilian music yet incorporates each individual player’s cultural and musical heritage.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

 “Ricardo Bacelar’s Sebastiana is a piece of cultural history, contemporary art, style guide, musical ethnology…an object of desire for aficionados of Brazilian Music.” – Smooth Jazz Daily

For more information and to view the videos, please visit http://ricardobacelar.com.br.